A significant increase in the enormous Twin Metals polymetallic resource in Minnesota, and identified higher grade zones, means the project economics just look like getting better and better
LONDON (MINEWEB) – With the release of an updated NI 43-101 compliant resource, Duluth Metals is just confirming the massive scale, and strategic mineral content, of the ground which falls under its Twin Metals jv with Antofagasta on the Duluth Metals complex in eastern Minnesota.
What is perhaps most impressive with regard to the future potential of the resource is that it only relates to around 11% of the ground controlled by the jv.
And from Duluth’s own viewpoint it is a resource which does not form part of its additional wholly-controlled ground holdings in the area where it has just started an exploration drilling programme, with four drill rigs turning.
But, coming back to the Twin Metals jv resource, the latest Indicated resource figures come out as containing an enormously impressive 13.7 billion lbs of copper, 4.4 billion lbs of nickel, and 21.2 million ounces of palladium+platinum+gold (TPM). There is an additional Inferred resource containing some 11.8 billion lbs of copper, 4.0 billion lbs of nickel, and 12.8 million ounces TPM – all calculated at a 0.3% copper cutoff grade.
This is contained in an overall resource amounting to 1.17 billion tonnes Indicated and 1.26 billion tonnes Inferred according to consultants AMEC, on the three sections of the jv property (Birch Lake, Maturi and Spruce Road) – and this represents an increase in Indicated tonnage of 60% and an 8% decrease in Inferred tonnage from the prior assessed tonnage noted in the June 2012 interim report.
As Duluth Metals CEO Chris Dundas told Mineweb in a phone call, what is particularly encouraging in terms of prospective early mining operations, if and when all the necessary permits and licences are received, is that what the company terms the S3 subunit on the Maturi section using a higher 0.5% copper cutoff contains 622 million tonnes Indicated and 198 million tonnes Inferrred which has the potential to provide a higher grade mill feed in the early stages of the project, just substantially improving early cashflow and overall project economics.
What Dundas also rates as significant, particularly given the trials and tribulations being suffered by South Africa’s platinum mines is that the AMEC updated mineral resource estimate highlights a growing Platinum Group Metal (PGM) and gold resource in the Maturi and Birch Lake deposits.
A decline of 3.0 million ozs contained in the Inferred Resource from the June 2012 interim report is offset by a 9.1 million ozs (75%) increase in the Indicated Resource. Thus the Twin Metals project has one of the world’s largest palladium and platinum resources outside of South Africa itself.
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